As Lawmakers Consider Unaffordable State Government Option, ‘Most Uninsured Americans Already Eligible For Coverage’

HARTFORD, Conn. – As Connecticut lawmakers consider legislation to create an unaffordable new state government-controlled health insurance system, known as the state government option, Axios reports that “[m]ost uninsured Americans are already eligible for Medicaid or subsidized Affordable Care Act coverage.”

Axios adds: “One path to universal health coverage would involve signing millions of Americans up for insurance that’s already available to them, and some states are pursuing that goal … After Congress temporarily expanded eligibility for ACA subsidies earlier this year, 63 percent of uninsured Americans are now eligible for free or subsidized plans, per a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.

The Hartford Courant reports that the “push to expand [state] government-sponsored insurance comes as the federal government, through the newly enacted American Rescue Plan, is funding a massive expansion of Obamacare and the state insurance exchanges, including Access Health Connecticut. Gov. Lamont, who opposes the Lembo-endorsed plan, says he favors expanding coverage through Access Health Connecticut, which offers federally-subsidized health coverage to more than 100,000 state residents through private insurance companies.”

Today, our health care system is working together to expand access to affordable, high-quality coverage and care. As the Associated Press reports, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is “the biggest expansion of federal help for health insurance since the Obama-era Affordable Care Act” more than a decade ago, and the Kaiser Family Foundation analysis finds that “the number of people eligible for a subsidy to purchase Marketplace coverage has increased 20 percent from 18.1 million to 21.8 million,” while “the majority of uninsured people (63 percent) are now eligible for financial assistance through the Marketplaces, Medicaid, or Basic Health Plans. In fact, more than four out of 10 uninsured people are eligible for a free or nearly free health plan through one of these programs.”

At the same time, a recent poll conducted by Locust Street Group on behalf of Connecticut’s Health Care Future finds that a majority of Connecticut voters do not support the proposed state government option and are satisfied with their current health coverage and care. The poll of 800 likely voters in Connecticut reveals that a majority want lawmakers to build on and improve the current health care system rather than start over by creating a new state government-controlled health insurance system such as the state government option.

The poll’s key findings include:

  • A majority of Connecticut voters do NOT support the state government option (only 36 percent support).
  • 80 percent of voters prefer for lawmakers to BUILD ON Connecticut’s health care system rather than create a new state government option.
  • Voters are especially CONCERNED about the impacts of the state government option on access to quality care (77 percent), jobs/economic growth (74 percent), and costs (72 percent).
  • 82 percent of voters are UNWILLING to pay more in health care costs and 78 percent are UNWILLING to pay more in taxes to finance the cost of the state option.

In fact, the poll shows that during this critical time Connecticut voters want state lawmakers to focus on jobs and the economy: 60 percent of voters ranked the economy and jobs as one of their two most important issues for the state government to address, while 48 percent ranked taxes as one of their top two most important issues. Only 30 percent of voters believe health care is among the two most important issues for state lawmakers to address.